First, I’d like to point you toward a brief update on the status of the Journal of Unlikely Entomology – where we are and how we work.
Second, I’d like to point you towards a great post on the Shimmer blog – confessions of a slush reader.
Reading slush has been an interesting experience so far. For the most part, we’ve been lucky enough not to get too many submissions blatantly ignoring our guidelines. We’ve had a few off-target subs, but on the whole, the bug content has been appropriate. It’s too early to pick out any definitive patterns, but the most common reasons stories have failed for me at this point are: they start too slowly (see the Shimmer blog post); once they start, they don’t go anywhere – nothing changes by the end of the story making them feel more like anecdotes than actual stories; and characters drift through their stories without a clear sense of purpose – basically protagonists who don’t protag. I’d like to think the process has made me more conscientious in my own writing, helping me catch problems and weaknesses earlier than I might have otherwise. I look forward to further adventures in slushing as the Journal continues.